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Navy & Marine Corps Medical News 


Feb 18, 2000 

The Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery distributes Navy 
and Marine Corps Medical News (MEDNEWS) to Sailors and 
Marines, their families, civilian employees and retired Navy 
and Marine Corps families . To achieve maximum medical 
information distribution, your command is highly encouraged 
to distribute MEDNEWS to ALL HANDS electronically, include 
MEDNEWS in command newspapers, newsletters and radio and TV 
news programs. 

Stories in MEDNEWS use these abbreviations after a Navy 
medical professional 's name to show affiliation: MC — 
Medical Corps (physician) ; DC - Dental Corps; NC - Nurse 
Corps; MSC - Medical Service Corps (clinicians, researchers 
and administrative managers) . Hospital Corpsmen (HM) and 
Dental Technician (DT) designators are placed in front of 
their names. 


Contents for this week's MEDNEWS: 

Headline: Cherry Point maintains quality edge 

Headline: New dental gear improves field service to Marines 

Headline: Army reserve medical unit trains at Great Lakes 

Headline: Family practice clinic improves access to care 

Headline: Telemedicine assists Spruance during deployment 

Headline: Anthrax question and answer 

Headline: TRICASE question and answer 

Headline: Healthwatch: Gum disease may cause premature babies 

Correction: Last week's MEDNEWS story about Nurse Corps 
training at Naval Hospital Jacksonville should have 
identified the midshipmen as ROTC midshipmen instead of 
Naval Academy midshipmen. 


Headline: Cherry Point maintains quality edge 

By: Lt j.g. Gordon R. Blighton, MSC, and Alice Eddinger, 

Naval Hospital Cherry Point 

CHERRY POINT, N.C. — In January 1999, Naval Hospital 
Cherry Point emphasized its dedication to quality control by 
earning a 98 score during an accreditation committee 
inspection. Not only did the hospital achieve the near 
perfect score; the committee renewed the hospital 's 

accreditation with commendation. 

The hospital maintains that high state of organizational 
readiness to ensure continuity of quality care for its 
customers, according to Cmdr. David R. McCarthy, NC, who is 
the hospital 's performance improvement coordinator . 

To share his hospital 's experience gained from the Joint 
Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations 
(JCAHO) survey, McCarthy arranged a two-day seminar called 
"Continual Readiness JCAHO Training" . 

More than 75 personnel from various Eastern North 
Carolina and Virginia Commands, including Fourth Medical 
Group, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Naval Hospital Camp 
LeJeune, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and Naval Hospital 
Cherry Point attended the event . 

Participants received information about the new 2000 
Joint Commission standards, which provide the parameters for 
assessing both organizational quality of care issues and the 
safety of the environment in which care is provided. 

But there was more information that the participants 
would be able to share with their commands. JCAHO policies 
regarding patient rights and ethics, care of patients, 
professional education and continuum of care were among the 
topics that would improve medical staffs ' expertise and help 
continue an MTF's quality care programs. 

McCarthy said this kind of training and communication for 
staff members contributes to quality of care and helps MTFs 
maintain readiness for JCAHO accreditation surveys. 


Headline: New dental gear improves field service to Marines 
>From 1st Dental Battalion 

By Capt. Richard C. Vinci, DC, NDC Camp Pendleton 

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - men Lt . Gladys Jaffari, DC, 
1st Dental Battalion, deploys this month with her Marine 
unit, she will improve her dental care to the Marines and 
Sailors with a new dental temporary care delivery system, 
the All Purpose Dental Treatment Bag or APDTB. 
This new 25— pound treatment container, which is a 
compliment to the much heavier, cumbersome dental gear in 
the Authorized Dental Allowance List or ADAL, allows limited 
care for dental emergencies ranging from root canals to 
extractions . 

The new bag, though it has limited use and doesn 't 
replace the full dental facility capability, is another step 
to ensure continuous care for the Marines . 

"Navy Dentistry ' s mission in support of deployed forces 
is the same whether in garrison or in the field, and that is 
to promote and maintain dental readiness and health, " said 
Capt . Greg Kvaska, DC, Dental Officer for the Marine Corps 
at Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C. The nature 
of dental disease requires constant vigilance; we cannot 
just raise a deploying unit 's dental readiness as high a 
possible and send them off unsupported. " 

"The standard dental setup, or ADAL, allows us to 

maintain both readiness and health of Marines and Sailors 
while deployed. But that larger, more involved setup is 
often not easily accessible during the early stages of troop 
movement . Should a Marine fracture teeth jumping off a 
truck or suffer a dental emergency, the APDTB allows quick 
temporary treatment or pain relief until the more thoroughly 
equipped facility is operable. In most cases, this will 
prevent the need to medical evacuate that Marine. " 

So Jaffari 's support of Marines is expedited by using the 
APDTB. She will not have to wait for more than 1,300 pounds 
of standard ADAL dental gear to arrive. She can grab her 
APDTB, climb aboard a HUMVEE or helicopter and provide 
emergency interim dental care without moving patients to the 
main dental facility. 

The current "portable" standard dental unit of the ADAL 
contains a light, patient chair, x-ray device, sink and 
supply boxes weighing about 1300 pounds and occupying more 
than 250 cubic feet . Compare that to the 25-pound APDTB 
that uses 2 cubic feet of space and the portability 
advantages become clear. 

Jaffari 's dental group is attached to the 15th Marine 
Expeditionary Unit, Force Services Support Group out of Camp 
Pendleton, Calif. When moving with this organization, 
portability and the ability to move out in a hurry are 
pluses for dental service. 

"With the APDTB, a Marine who is injured or requires 
emergency care can be treated expeditiously on site, and - 
within limitations - can even receive an exam or dental 
cleaning, " said Kvaska 


Headline: Army reserve medical unit trains at Great Lakes 
BY Lt . Youssef H. Aboul-Enein, MSC, Naval Hospital Great 

GREAT LAKES, 111. — Naval Hospital Great Lakes not only 
supports the naval training centers, it also trains 

The 801st Combat Support Hospital in Fort Sheridan, 111., 
sends about 20 Army Reserve personnel to fulfill their Ready 
Reserve training requirements one weekend a month. 

After spending time in a classroom, the Army medics and 
officers augment the pharmacy, physical therapy and several 
other areas of the Naval Hospital . 

"I have been involved in training at Naval Hospital Great 
Lakes since 1974, " said Lt. Col. Arnold Oskin, USAR, who now 
is the officer in charge of the Fort Sheridan Army Medical 
Group. "In 1996, we were deployed for Operation Joint 
Endeavor in Bosnia, and the training and hands-on work we 
did every month at Great Lakes Naval Hospital kept our 
skills sharp, particularly while serving with Army units in 
the Balkans. " 

In keeping with a joint service training concept. Naval 
Hospital Great Lakes has provided Navy Hospital Corpsmen to 
serve in Army Reserve Units during field training exercises. 

It provides an opportunity for the Hospital Corpsmen to 
learn how the Army is structured and how they do business 
from a medical and military perspective. 


Headline: Telemedicine assists Spruance during deployment 
By Lt. j.g. Jon Spiers, USN 

ABOARD USS SPRUANCE (AT SEA) — As it is with any 
forward— deployed ship, operational ability determines 
success, and medical readiness is a prime element of 
developing that ability. 

Spruance 's medical department continuously improves the 
crew's medical readiness with aggressive education, training 
and health promotion. The most recent medical innovation 
was the addition of "telemedicine" to the medical care 
inventory . 

The innovation is in keeping with today's high tech 
considerations when phrases such as Y2K and Network— centric 
Warfare are part of tactical and strategic discussions . So, 
adding telemedicine to the list makes sense, because its 
modern communication methods contribute to quality medical 
care for our Sailors and helps commanders maintain a high 
level of personnel readiness for their ships and bases. 

Led by Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW) Robert Martel, from 
Schooley's Mountain, N.J., Spruance' s medical team takes 
full advantage of advances in technology and communications 
to enhance medical service to the crew. 

In a recent deployment, digital images of a patient ' s 
skin condition were sent via password protected files to the 
Telemedicine Department at National Naval Medical Center in 
Bethesda, Md. The result was a rapid turn— around in 
information and a modification to the treatment plan that 
greatly improved the patient's condition. 

"In addition to sending digital photographs, we have been 
able to use routine e-mail to discuss numerous cases with 
physicians in the Mediterranean and back in Mayport, " said 

Martel said they coupled the computer network that 
provides Internet connectivity to forward— deployed forces 
with off-the-shelf digital cameras to increase transmission 
services. He emphasized that using this new technology 
allows health care that wouldn't have been possible before 
until the ship pulled into a port with a Naval Hospital. 

"Our cost to set this up was negligible and the return 
from the patient 's point of view is immeasurable, " said 
Martel . 

Capt. Richard S. Bakalar, MC, executive assistant for 
telemedicine, said his group has had success working with 
independent duty hospital corpsmen on a number of ships 
including recent work with USS Atlanta (SSN-712) and USS 
Yorktown (CG-48) . 

"The key to a successful telemedicine consultation starts 
with the independent duty corpsman making the initial 
assessment and forwarding a quality digital image to the 

consultants in Bethesda, " Bakalar said. 

He told Spruance's medical team that during a USS Carl 
Vinson (CVN—70) deployment, telemedicine prevented 14 
medical evacuations for a cost avoidance of more than 
$61,000, confirmed the requirement for 10 medical 
evacuations, saved 1,333 full duty days and 244 light duty 

Spruance expects to return to Mayport, Fla., in mid- 
March. Until then, the medical professionals on board will 
continue keeping medical readiness high with the knowledge 
that a telemedicine consultation is only a mouse-click away. 


Headline : Family practice clinic improves access to care 
By Ensign Dan Haley, Naval Ambulatory Care Center New 

NEW ORLEANS — A $300, 000 renovation of Naval Ambulatory 
Care Center New Orleans improved access to medical care for 
Naval family members by adding a Family Practice Clinic that 
opened February 1 . 

Dr. Herman Sacks and Lt.Cmdr. Denna Miller, MC, both of 
whom graduated from military family practice residency 
programs, will operate the clinic. 

Miller said the addition of the family practice will now 
allow NACC, New Orleans, to serve the pediatric population, 
address family and psychosocial issues. 

Sacks said the new clinic gives entire families the 
opportunity to be seen by a single provider, which will 
allow the physician to get to know the family better. 

Both doctors are looking into several new ideas and 
technologies to improve services to all the beneficiaries of 
NACC for both family practice and primary care clinics. 

Care includes, but is not limited to immunizations, 
health maintenance services, allergy shots, well 
child/school physicals, and post partum exams. 

For more information about Naval Ambulatory Care Center 
visit their website at 


Headline: Anthrax question and answer 
>From Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 

Question: What preparations have been made to respond to 
an anthrax release in a high— threat area? 

Answer: The status of sufficient personnel and materiel, 
both medical and other logistics, is continually reassessed 
by the commanders in chief (CINCs) for their geographical 
areas of responsibility. Specific details of U.S. capability 
in supporting war plans are classified. 

There is no theater of war currently, but the status of 
personnel, medical materiel, evacuation equipment and 
hospitalization assets in all geographical areas of 
responsibility are maintained at a high state of readiness. 
U.S. forces are prepared to address a wide range of possible 

contingencies and crises in the region. 

All military personnel are trained to respond immediately 
by assuming a mission— oriented protective posture (MOPP) 
commensurate with the risk, and provide first aid to injured 
personnel. Deployed medical personnel are trained to 
respond to symptoms of biological disease and chemical 
casualties that may be encountered in modern warfare; 
provide or direct patient decontamination activities and 
render resuscitative or definitive medical care. 

For more information visit the Navy anthrax web site at, or the 
DOD web site at 


Headline: TRICARE question and answer 
>From Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 

Question: Can my son or daughter, who is away from home 
at college, enroll in TRICARE Prime at college if the option 
is available there? 

Answer: For active duty families your son or daughter may 
enroll in TRICARE Prime as an individual if the option is 
offered in his or her geographic area. Retirees and their 
family members will have the option of split enrollments 
(enroll as a family in one region and pay one fee but be 
able to receive care for children in school in a different 
region) . 

For more information visit the website at 
http: //www. tricare . . 


Headline: Healthwatch: Gum disease may cause premature 

By Cmdr. D. K. Oyster, DC, Branch Dental Clinic Mayport 

MAYPORT, Fla. — Researchers at the University of North 
Carolina and Meharry Medical College of Nashville say that gum 
disease in pregnant women may increase the risk of delivering 
a premature baby of low birth weight by more than seven times. 
The findings, published in The Journal of Periodontology, 
suggest that periodontal infection may be responsible for many 
premature births that were otherwise unexplainable . 

Indeed, the research article indicates that gum disease 
may cause as many as 18 percent of the 250, 000 premature and 
underweight babies born in the U.S. each year. By properly 
treating periodontal infection in women of childbearing age, 
the researchers speculate 45, 500 premature births each year 
might be prevented. 

That could lead to a saving of nearly $1 billion in 
intensive neonatal care costs. The study was based on 
detailed analysis of 124 births. The researchers noted that 
the results were preliminary and needed to be confirmed by 
further study. 

The researchers speculate that periodontal disease can 
lead to the release of bacteria and bacteria-produced toxins 

into the bloodstream. These toxins do not attack the fetus 
directly, but may interfere with fetal development. 

Periodontal infection also stimulates the production of 
inflammatory chemicals by the mother's body, which can lead to 
dilation of the cervix and uterine contractions, thus leading 
to premature birth. 

The bottom line: If you're pregnant or considering 
pregnancy, your gums should be in good health! Brushing, 
flossing and regular dental visits before you become pregnant 
can help your child start out on the right (little) feet. 


Comments about and ideas for MEDNEWS are welcome. Story 
submissions are encouraged. Contact MEDNEWS editor. Earl W. 
Hicks, at email:; Telephone 202/762- 
3223, (DSN) 762-3223, or fax 202/762-3224.